I'm saving my jars, laying in the white sugar, steeling myself for the tediousness of de-pipping at least three kilos of tiny plums and for the watching of a huge pot of boiling sugar. And that it will be at least 36C on the day and I will be hot and sticky. We are totally out of homemade jam. The last bottle was eaten several months ago, so we have been subsisting on gifts and on supermarket jam. Mostly supermarket jam, or exotic varieties from one of the middle eastern outlets two streets up. All of which is OK, interesting even, but really no substitute. Unfortunately the loquat tree is still recovering from it's very severe pruning which was carried out because all the fruit was too high to reach, even by a tall person on a ladder. Loquat jam is lovely. It's the first to fruit and is high in pectin so it sets well. It can taste a little generic stone fruit, not quite like loquats, but like good stone fruit nonetheles. The best jam however is from these tiny little olive sized plums. The big tree is old and diseased, and if we owned the property would probably be chopped down eventually. But is does make the best jam, especially if made with about a quarter underripe fruit.
I spent most of the morning sewing a new top for work. I'm quite pleased with how it turned out. Bias cut, asymmetrical stripe, with sleeves that weren't part of the pattern. I've never made a top cut on the bias before and I'm surprised at how easy it was. Mind you, I was sewing without a toddler rampaging nearby. G took Grace to the Trash and treasure, leaving me with a good two hours in which to immerse myself in the sound of the machine. I really need to buckle down and make myself some new summer clothes that I can wear to work. Last weeks effort was truly woeful, maternity pants held in with a safety pin that kept jabbing me. Noice. It was a choice between that with a matching long top, or non-maternity pants with a maternity top that I'm sure my colleagues would have recognised (I wore it every second or third day). Or a totally clashing blue and green outfit. Or a flagrant flouting of the dress code and wearing my black jeans which my team leader says look like blue denim to her. A new low even for me. So no frivolous craft or other projects until my wardrobe is sorted.
After lunch I took Grace to the park near the supermarket. She's starting to really enjoy playgrounds even though she's too little for most of the equipment. Today she enjoyed the baby swing for the first time, possibly because there was an older girl on the swing next to her. She also watched the girl go down the slide and decided to have a go herself. The first time, I set her on the low platform and she climbed the rest of the way to the top of the slide herself. She sat at the top for quite while then pushed herself down. It was all good until she leant back and went from sitting to lying on her back. She wasn't hurt, just startled and surprised. Then she climbed all the way up the steps and platforms, all by herself and went down again.
After the park, we stopped to check out one of my favourite front gardens. (Photo taken from park across the road, seems a bit pervy to take photos of other people houses but I would if I was travelling and seeing new architecture) Anyway, in my dreams this house comes up for sale next June, and we can afford it and it has a really large backyard (which it probably doesn't).
What you can't really see in the photo is the little path through the long grass. I love this overgrown garden, even though it has me itching for my secateurs. There's a lovely she-oak down the side, an olive tree, good jam plums and glimpses of other fruit trees. Not to mention the rampaging geraniums and pelargoniums.